Srdja Trifkovic’s latest RT interview
The Republic of Macedonia has become important to the U.S. policymakers in recent months, as it could be the only way for Russia’s proposed Turkish Stream pipeline to reach Central Europe. Washington does not want that to happen, as Srdja Trifkovic told RT in the latest live interview, and this may hold the clue to recent bloody unrest in the former Yugoslav republic.
RT: Some thirty ethnic Albanians have been charged with “terrorism” after a shootout in the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo over the weekend which left eight policemen and 14 Albanians dead. What are the main reasons for the current unrest in the Balkans?
Srdja Trifkovic: It is rather tricky, because the Albanians do not react the way they acted, or “reacted,” over the past three days without encouragement from the outside. We’ve seen this 14 years ago, in 2001, when the Albanian insurgents were caught in the village of Aracinovo, and there were some American fighters with them.
Macedonia, or rather the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, has become very important to the United States recently because of Bulgaria’s refusal to accept the South Stream [gas pipeline] project. In the end the Bulgarians, under EU pressure, had to say “no.” And now, if the Russian pipeline goes across Turkey to the Greek-Turkish border, the only way it can reach central Europe from there would be across Macedonia, and then along the old path as originally suggested: through Serbia and Hungary into Austria, Slovenia, and Italy – and this is something the Americans don’t want. I believe that what we’ve seen in recent days is a warning to the government in Skopje not to even think about hosting the new Turkish pipeline, the replacement for South Stream. This is the political background to what is going on...
RT: The Macedonian authorities called the perpetrators “terrorists,” but there are many who disagree and say they’re fighting for independence. How bad could the situation get?
ST: There is no limit with the rebelling Albanians. We should bear in mind that the Skopje authorities, after the Albanian rebellion in 2001, effectively turned the country into a bi-national condominium. The Albanian party is a permanent member of the ruling coalition. One really has to wonder what else they could possibly want. This is primarily instigated from Kosovo, not from Albania, and it is in Kosovo that you have former KLA fighters [Kosovo Liberation Army] with lots of experience in staging ambushes and terrorist attacks. After all, they openly propagate the notion of a Greater Albania that will include not only Kosovo, but also Western Macedonia, and parts of the Epirus [region] in Greece, and southern Montenegro.
The limit for the escalation would be the announcement by the Skopje government that there will be no Russian pipeline going across the Macedonian territory from Greece into Serbia. Of course that will not be in the form of a public announcement, but [Nikola] Gruevski, the Macedonian Prime Minister, has been too hesitant to state point-blank that this project will not play.